Millions of dollars in uncollectible tolls expected: TI Corp
CTV British Columbia
Published Wednesday, December 12, 2012 5:13PM PST
Last Updated Friday, February 15, 2013 11:06AM PST
The company that runs the Port Mann Bridge says it expects to write off millions of dollars from tolls that are uncollectible or unidentifiable.
TI Corp officials told CTV in an email that it expects to make $120 million in revenue in the first year of tolling, but it also expects a three-to-four per cent annual loss they say is better than the industry norm of three-to-five per cent.
Treo does not currently have a way of collecting tolls from out-of-province or out-of-country drivers who do not want to pay to cross the bridge. B.C. drivers who have overdue tolls, however, could have the bills added to their driver’s licence or insurance renewal fees if the amount owing is at least $25.
“They have a hammer over us as B.C. residents,” said Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “If you run up a bill of $25, they won’t let you renew your car insurance, but there is nothing preventing companies from registering their vehicles in Alberta, and then using the bridge for free.”
TI Corp says $4.2 million worth of tolls probably won’t be collected in the first year. Revenue in the second year is forecasted at $180 million, but the expected loss jumps to another $7.2 million.
TI Corp says some of the lost revenue will also come from licence plate's that can't be seen by the cameras, or if drivers do not have the proper plates or insurance.
However, the company says it has made payment options easy for out-of-town-drivers, and that it expects they will pay.
Treo says it is working with a Washington State company to provide contact information for U.S. drivers so that invoices can be mailed to them. However, there is no plan at this point to collect the toll.
Officials say about five per cent of Port Mann Bridge users are out-of-province drivers, and U.S. drivers make up about one-fifth of that number.
Neither Treo nor the Minister of Transportation Mary Polak were available for comment.
With files from CTV British Columbia’s Lisa Rossington